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NHTSA accepting applications for new underride guard advisory committee

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, July 6, 2022:

NHTSA launching committee to study underride crashes as new regs near

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is soliciting applications for its new Advisory Committee on Underride Protection (ACUP). The purpose of ACUP is to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on safety regulations to reduce underride crashes and fatalities relating to underride crashes, NHTSA said.

Development of the ACUP was a requirement in the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In addition to the new advisory committee, NHTSA is nearing publication of a final rule that will beef up the required strength of rear underride guards on trailers. The rule, which is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days, “will require rear impact guards to provide sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of compact and subcompact passenger cars impacting the rear of trailers” at 35 mph, NHTSA said. The agency noted the requirement will serve to better protect passenger vehicle occupants when they hit the center of the rear of a trailer and when 50% of the width of the vehicle overlaps the rear of the trailer.

The ACUP will work solely an advisory role, NHTSA said. Its duties include gathering information and deliberating on issues related to underride crashes and fatalities from underride crashes. The group will provide advice to the DOT and will submit a biennial report to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House that describes advice and recommendations made to the DOT Secretary and an assessment of progress made by the DOT Secretary in advancing safety regulations regarding underride guards.

The ACUP will be made up of no more than 20 members. It will consist of no more than two representatives from each of the following categories:

  • Truck and trailer manufacturers
  • Motor carriers, including independent owner-operators
  • Law enforcement
  • Motor vehicle engineers
  • Motor vehicle crash investigators
  • Truck safety organizations
  • The insurance industry
  • Emergency medical service providers
  • Families of underride crash victims
  • Labor organizations

Qualified individuals interested in serving on the ACUP are invited to apply for appointment by submitting a resume, along with letters of recommendation. Applications can be emailed to ACUP@dot.gov by 5 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 5.

[Related: Rear impact guards now included in annual DOT inspection checklist]

Third-party CDL examiner sentenced for role in fraudulent CDL scheme

On June 16, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania sentenced Roberto Correas to 15 days of imprisonment, two years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine, $4,950 in restitution, a $1,200 special assessment, and 80 hours of community service.

In January 2022, Correas, a former third-party CDL examiner, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection to a fraudulent CDL scheme.

From February to March 2018, Correas provided pre-signed CDL skills examination score sheets to a co-conspirator, who completed the sheets with passing scores to fraudulently qualify individuals who did not actually take the CDL test.

Additionally, between September and October 2018, Correas conducted CDL skills examinations on a third-party testing facility's behalf. Correas charged applicants $275 each but kept the money instead of submitting it to the company.

Rates rose for dry vans, flats, reefer ahead of July 4 week | As has historically been fairly typical for a pre-Fourth holiday week, though specialized-segment rates falls brought down the national average, spot market rates were up for other major segments. Load posts were up, too, but truck posts were up more, yielding negative market pressure on the whole, according to the weekly snapshot from Truckstop and FTR Transportation Intelligence. In the companies' weekly market commentary, they tempered what good news could be gleaned from the overall picture by noting that 'the rate increases in the van segments,' including reefer, 'were not especially robust relative to history. Dry van’s increase for week before the holiday was the smallest since 2019 while refrigerated’s gain was the smallest since 2015.'Rates rose for dry vans, flats, reefer ahead of July 4 week | As has historically been fairly typical for a pre-Fourth holiday week, though specialized-segment rates falls brought down the national average, spot market rates were up for other major segments. Load posts were up, too, but truck posts were up more, yielding negative market pressure on the whole, according to the weekly snapshot from Truckstop and FTR Transportation Intelligence. In the companies' weekly market commentary, they tempered what good news could be gleaned from the overall picture by noting that "the rate increases in the van segments," including reefer, "were not especially robust relative to history. Dry van’s increase for week before the holiday was the smallest since 2019 while refrigerated’s gain was the smallest since 2015."

TruckPro launches new e-commerce site

Truck and trailer parts distributor TruckPro has launched its new e-commerce site, giving its customers access to a host of new capabilities on the platform, including access to TruckPro's entire catalog of more than 400,000 truck and trailer parts.

The site also gives TruckPro customers online interaction whenever and wherever they choose, flexible delivery options (in-store pickup, local delivery, direct shipping), and an immediate view of detailed account-specific information.

"Our e-commerce initiative is focused on enhancing customer service and the overall customer experience,” said Chuck Broadus, TruckPro's Chief Executive Officer. “We're giving customers flexibility and options, making it easier for them to do business with us as their needs and preferences evolve.”

TruckPro's platform was designed based on what customers said they wanted -- intuitive site functionality, layout and navigation. The site is fully optimized for access via mobile devices, and customers can also search TruckPro's broad offering of parts by product category, part number, brand, cross-reference, and other specifications. Inventory levels at individual users' local TruckPro stores are available in real-time, likewise levels more broadly across the entire network of stores and distribution centers.

Buyers can determine the delivery method that fits their needs and make purchases on account or via credit card. The site also allows the ability to create customizable parts lists for future reference and easy reordering, access detailed order histories, view all past invoices, and chat with the TruckPro Expert Care Team to answer questions.

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